Will Once
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Warning! Contains spoilers

 

What is a novel?  It's a book, usually between 70,000 and 100,000 words, which can either be written on paper or on an electronic device like a Kindle or an I-pad. It usually starts in the beginning, wends its way through the middle and ends at the ... end. You typically hand over a certain amount of currency and in return the author delivers a story where characters have adventures, stuff happens and they might all live happily ever after. Or not.
 
Does it have to be that way? In this electronic age, can we change some of the rules of the game?
 
Who says that a novel has to be more than 70,000 words long? That size of book probably has more to do with the economics of printing paper copies than anything else. In the age of Dickens, many authors published their work in serial form. That eventually died out, possibly because we all stopped buying the periodicals that ran serialised stories. But why can't that sort of serialised story make a comeback?
 
The digital age gives us all sorts of ways to change the rules. New authors can distribute their work for free to try to build a readership - the literary equivalent of a drug pusher giving out free samples. We can experiment with new (and old!) formats.
 
I was thinking about the experience of reading a book, with a start, a middle and an end. And it struck me that we don't have to feel constrained by these arbitrary boundaries. Wouldn't it be fun if we could read about what happened after the book finished? Or find out why the author did a certain thing. Or learn more about a character. Or perhaps hear from the author what it was like to write the book.
 
Think of it like watching a DVD. After you have seen the film you can delve into the bonus features. The alternative ending. The "making of" feature. The deleted scenes.
 
That's what this bit of the website is all about. Here you can find out why I wrote "Love, Death and Tea", what different things mean and why the characters behaved in the way that they did. I'll tell you a little bit about the experience of writing it. And eventually I'll post an extra chapter or two, so that you can see what happened after the book finished.
 
I have absolutely no idea whether this will work. I have no idea where it will end up. Maybe one day I'll write an alternative ending. Or a new middle. Or take a character who disappears from the book and develop his story ... a kind of "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead".
 
Or in this case, "undead".
 
Please do let me know what you think. Are there any questions you would like to ask? I'll add the answers as we go. Or if nobody reads this I'll just sit in a corner and sulk moodily to myself.